Make Ahead Cooking Tip #1: Overnight Noodles

Appeared first in a Cooks Illustrated 2018 story, expanded in Food52‘s Genius Recipes series by Kristen Miglore as Make Ahead Pasta Salad

The to-make or not-to-make overnight pasta question is answered, finally. It turns out their is more science in the answer than I thought. And by over cooking noodles slightly before storing, noodles are actually better in the morning.

It’s called retrogradation and Cooks Illustrated and Miglore break it down:

Here’s how retrogradation works, in a nutshell: The starch molecules that swell with water and gelatinize as pasta cooks become rigid and force water out as it cools, forming crunchy crystals—making perfectly cooked al dente pasta turn stiff and chewy in the fridge. Only by overshooting al dente will the pasta retrograde back to a buttery just-right texture we didn’t know cold pasta could have.

Now the question is, will it work for gluten-free noodles as well? See what our testers discover!

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